Leah Williamson leads as Lionesses recognised on New Year Honours List

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Leah Williamson is among four members of the England squad who won Euro 2022 to be included on the New Year Honours List.

Team captain Leah Williamson, who lifted the Women’s Euro trophy after a 2-1 victory over Germany at Wembley in July, has been made an OBE while her team-mates Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead and Ellen White all become MBEs.

Denise Lewis, who won heptathlon gold at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, has been given a damehood while former Northern Ireland, Tottenham and Arsenal goalkeeper Pat Jennings has been made a CBE.

Lewis told the PA news agency: "I’m still totally blown away. I can’t even process it. But I haven’t stopped smiling since I heard the news. It’s an incredible honour."

Honours related to women’s football dominate the list.

Williamson skippered England to glory on home soil in the summer, while her Arsenal team-mate Mead was the tournament’s top scorer and was voted its best player. Earlier this month Mead was voted the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.

White had been a key figure in England’s attack for more than a decade until her retirement from the game in August, while Barcelona right-back Bronze is arguably the England team’s highest-profile player, having been voted the best player in the world in 2020.

Sir Hugh Robertson, the chairman of the honours sport committee, was asked why more of the Lionesses squad had not been recognised.

"The approach that we’ve tried to take with this is when we have these events there is a danger in sort of carpet bombing the entire squad because then you get people who’ve done five minutes on the pitch and get an award," he said.

"So what we’ve tried to do is stick to the principle of the honours which is to recognise excellence and to recognise extraordinary contributions."

In addition to the Lionesses quartet, the captains of Wales and Scotland, Sophie Ingle and Kim Little, have been made an OBE and an MBE respectively.

Little’s Arsenal and Scotland team-mate Jen Beattie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, has also become an MBE for services to football and charity.

Former Northern Ireland captain Gail Redmond has also been made an MBE. Redmond is currently the women’s development manager at the Irish Football Association Foundation.

Elsewhere, the chief executive of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organising committee Ian Reid has been made a CBE, as has Exeter Chiefs chairman and chief executive Tony Rowe.

Former Saracens player Floyd Steadman, the first black scrum-half and captain of a top-flight English rugby union club, has become an OBE.

Brighton and Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber has also been made an OBE, with Scotland and Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson becoming an MBE.

Former footballer and manager Chris Kamara, who has been best known in recent years as a pundit and presenter on Sky Sports, is made an MBE for services to football, anti-racism and charity.

Chris Kamara will be awarded an MBE for services to football, anti-racism and charity (PA Wire)
Chris Kamara will be awarded an MBE for services to football, anti-racism and charity (PA Wire)

Lizzie Deignan, the 2015 world cycling road race champion, becomes an MBE while Geoffrey Newton, lately the vice-chair of the British Paralympic Association, is made an OBE.

England and Leeds Rhinos netball player Jade Clarke becomes an MBE, as does Robert Elstone, a British businessman who held roles with Castleford, Everton and rugby league’s Super League.

Former world cruiserweight boxing champion Johnny Nelson has been made an MBE for services to his sport and to young people in his home county of South Yorkshire.

Jawahir Roble, who grew up playing football in war-torn Somalia and now lives in London, has also been made an MBE for services to football. She became the first black, female, Muslim, hijab-wearing referee in the UK.

Additional reporting from PA